On Monday, April 23rd I went to go see “The Alexander String Quartet.” All of us have seen them atleast once and know that they are great musicians. They are made up of Zakarias Grafilo (Violin 1), Frederick Lifsitz (Violin 2), Paul Yarbrough (Viola), and Sandy Wilson (Cello). They have performed in the major music capitals of five continents. Their home base is in San Francisco and they have been a world premier ensemble for nearly over three decades. The concert was at the theatre at Baruch College and it was almost a full house. There were many older people and only a few students. I felt out of place.
The quartet performed three string quartets by Bartok. Bartok was born in Hungary on March 25th 1881 and died on September 26th 1945 in New York City. The first quartet they played which I’m going to speak a little bit more about was very different from other quartets. They played String Quartet No. 1, Op. 7. Bartok wrote this in 1908 when he was 27 years old at the Budapest Academy of Music. In the first movement the instruments come in at random times. There is a theme that is very catchy. I liked that the cello had very melodic parts because usually the violin 1 has the melodies. I kept picturing a movie scene when listening to it. During one part I actually thought of a circus!
The String Quartet No. 2 was a very nice and melodic work. I believe it was the second movement that was very forceful and had a pounding opening. The quartet have a lot of energy when they play pieces like this. The end of the piece is much slower and is surprising. The last String Quartet No. 3 was written when Bartok was 46. This is the shortest quartet our of Bartok’s six quartets. This quartet bored me because it was very slow in the beginning but the second movement which was allegro was still boring but faster and better than the first part.
Overall, The Alexander String Quartet was great. Even though I have seen them before this was new to me. This was a different kind of concert then they usually play for the students. Everyone was very quiet and listened carefully to what was being played. Bartok was interesting to listen to.